2.15 am: So that’s that for the day then. Kidambi Srikanth staged a remarkable comeback to down young compatriot Lakshya Sen 17-21 21-14 21-17 and enter the final of the BWF World Badminton Championships. And he will face the red-hot Loh Kean Yew for a shot at gold. That will be the final final, there is also the No 1 vs No 2 in women’s singles to look forward to. Sessions at 2.30 pm IST.

Men’s singles: The Loh Kean Yew juggernaut rolls on! Already the first ever Singaporean shuttler to be assured a medal, he pulls off another stunning performance against 3rd seed Anders Antonsen to reach the final.

Men’s singles: You know that hypothetical question sports fans ask sometimes? What would your ideal player be a combination of? If you do that for badminton at this very moment and come up with specific metrics – Lin Dan’s flair, Lee Chong Wei’s court coverage, Axelsen’s jump smash, Momota’s defence – then it would sum up what we we are seeing from Loh Kean yew.

Men’s singles: as the tweet was sent below, Loh plays an atrocious crosscourt at the net, picking up shuttle at the last possible moment and changes direction. Goodness. Leads 11-7 in the 2nd game.

If Srikanth is watching this match, and if he does play Loh Kean Yew as it looks likely, he has to trust his net game and keep drawing Loh forward. Seems to be the only real *tiny* chink in his game at the moment.

Men’s singles: Fantastic! Anders Antonsen saves SIX game points but Loh Kean Yew converts the seventh to take the opening game. A game of ridiculously high quality. That is huge for Loh, given he can easily outlast Antonsen physically. AA’s Plan A would have been to win the first game and put Loh under scoreboard pressure. Gets difficult for the Dane now.

Men’s singles: And Anders Antonsen saves five game points from 15-20 down! Brilliant from the Dane and for the first time in a while, Loh Kean Yew looks like he is searching for answers. And Antonsen saves a sixth game point too! 21-21 now. The Singaporean showing signs of nerves.

Men’s singles: How quickly does Loh Kean Yew dive and get back... how quickly does he move across the court, front and back. Running out of ways to say how unreal he’s making it look. Leads 19-14.

Men’s singles: Wonderful from Loh Kean Yew, goes into the interval on a run of 5 straight points and a 11-8 lead. AA makes it 11-11 after the break. .

What a phenomenal tournament Loh Kean Yew has had. Look at those scorelines... just stunning. Already a history-maker for Singapore, can he go one step further?

Time for the final match of the day... men’s singles coming up. Will it be another Loh Kean Yew special this week or will Anders Antonsen find a way to stop the juggernaut?

Medals won by Indians at Badminton Worlds

Edition Host city Winner
1983  Copenhagen  Prakash Padukone (bronze) 
2011  London  Jwala Gutta & Ashwini Ponnappa (bronze) 
2013  Guangzhou  PV Sindhu (bronze) 
2014  Copenhagen  PV Sindhu (bronze) 
2015  Jakarta  Saina Nehwal (silver) 
2017  Glasglow  PV Sindhu (silver)
2017 Glasglow Saina Nehwal (bronze)
2018  Nanjing  PV Sindhu (silver) 
2019  Basel  B Sai Praneeth (bronze) 
2019  Basel  PV Sindhu (Gold)
2021 Huelva Lakshya Sen (Bronze)
2021 Huelva Srikanth Kidambi (TBD)

Men’s doubles decider underway...

Srikanth Kidambi’s post-match reaction (via BWF Mixed Zone)

So many Spanish fans...

Thank you so much, yeah really got a huge support today. There a bunch of people sitting in the corner of the stadium and cheering. It is good to have support. No one is going to complain about that. 

How does it feel to be in the final and be the first Indian men’s singles player to do it? 

Frankly I didn’t think too much about it, just want to be playing well. That’s all I have been thinking in the last few months, even coming into this tournament. Really wanted to play my best and see where I am, that’s it. 

Talk us through the match:

Both of us started really well. Just played well throughout the match really. First set, I was leading at some point and then he came back and then I came back ahead and then he really played in those crucial points. Second and third sets... happy to be playing well and pull off the win. He played exceptionally well in the third set, was leading at 15. Happy to pull off those points at the end. 

Defensive game and sticking with rallies:

I did some mistakes today but again I played well when it really mattered. Definitely there are some areas to work on, after I go back home will analyse and then work on it. 

Is Srikanth back? Really, really back?

“(big smile) I don’t know.. I probably have to see tomorrow’s match and then decide.

Any preference over Loh or Antonsen? 

See, both of them have been playing exceptionally well and I just have to be at my best. Whoever it is in the final. If I have to win, I need to be at my best against either of them. Just try and recover now. 

Men’s doubles: Another potentially thrilling men’s singles to come after this doubles battle.

A very happy Srikanth in the mixed zone... quotes coming up shortly.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 21-17 Lakshya Sen: Just a lovely badminton match it turned out to be after a less than impressive start. Here’s how the third game panned out.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 21-17 Lakshya Sen: Sen nets a backhand, Srikanth falls on his back. A fabulous embrace at the net long after. Srikanth has done it, Lakshya has shown again he is a special, special player.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 20-17 Lakshya Sen: Under pressure yesterday, LS said he went to his drive game. Does that here to get the serve back. AND AFTER A SENSATIONAL DEFENSIVE POINT, LS SENDS A CLEAR LONG! WOW. Deserved to win that point and now he faces match points.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 19-16 Lakshya Sen: And now LS’ turn to miss a smash and net point, Sri goes full pace... and Sri has a three-point lead.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 17-16 Lakshya Sen: Another fantastic rally and even thought Srikanth wins it he is bent into half at the end of it. BRUTAL. What a crosscourt winner to clinch it. Two points later, a fantastic sliced-drop that TTY would be proud of.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 15-15 Lakshya Sen: SEN’S DEFENCE ON FIRE! (Is that an oxymoron?) A sensational save at the net from a kill shot that Sri thought would be a winner and the block turns into a winner for Sen instead. And now Sri with a good flat point to make it level again.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 12-13 Lakshya Sen: Srikanth closes the gap again, first with a straight smash that is not returned and then a lovely flat exchange with more great net play from both.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 10-13 Lakshya Sen: A desperate challenge from Sri doesn’t go his way and then Lakshya plays a superb defensive point to set up another winner. A three-point lead for the youngster. Sri on the court.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 10-11 Lakshya Sen: TWO FANTASTIC RALLIES. Post interval, two really brilliant points that see Lakshya defend so well but Srikanth wins them both. The second was a 41-shot rally.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 8-11 Lakshya Sen: A brilliant crosscourt winner from Sen and suddenly, when it seemed like he was going to be struggling physically at the start of this game, he has a spring in his step going into the final change of ends.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 8-10 Lakshya Sen: Brilliant, brilliant defence from Lakshya to win the 43-shot rally. In the end, Srikanth sent the shuttle wide. The net play from both players has been fantastic. Sri misses another smash though.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 7-7 Lakshya Sen: Oh boy, Sri misses a smash by some distance! Lakshya has the lead a couple of times. But Sri’s ally, his net game, comes handy next rally. And then a good attacking rally to go ahead. LS levels it again. Both players trying to so hard for control.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 4-5 Lakshya Sen: Geez Srikanth, series of errors when it looked like he can’t take control of the game. And suddenly Lakshya is back up and running.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14, 3-1 Lakshya Sen: A 50-shot rally leaves Lakshya on the court! Terrific defence from the youngster but Srikanth was relentless. Like I said if this becomes a physical battle, LS will struggle here.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-14 Lakshya Sen: Srikanth asserts his dominance at the net and puts together a wonderful set of points from the frontcourt to force the decider. He has settled in, and longer it goes, tougher it’s going to be for Lakshya.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 18-14 Lakshya Sen: FABULOUS RALLY! Srikanth and Lakshya with superb exchanges from the front court and eventually finds the winner. Keeps a four point lead.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 16-12 Lakshya Sen: Great observation from the commentary team. Srikanth is playing from the frontcourt mainly, moving right and left more than front and back and LS is not able to play the four-corners game. Taking a lot out of Lakshya physically.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 13-12 Lakshya Sen: And Sen starts to close the gap again. Sri sends a couple of lifts long. Was interesting that Srikanth came out of the mid-game break in no time, he wanted to keep this going but Sen has arrested the momentum for now.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 11-9 Lakshya Sen: From 4-8 down to 11-9 at the mid-game interval. Srikanth has stopped trying to force the face and find the perfect shot, playing a bit more relaxed now and it is helping him recover from what seemed like a point of imminent collapse.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 9-9 Lakshya Sen: Srikanth is not forcing the pace and suddenly his game has gotten cleaner, steadier.

Men’s singles, [12] Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 4-8 Lakshya Sen: Another shot goes wide for Srikanth and then Lakshya comes up with a lovely net shot.

Men’s singles, [12] Srikanth Kidambi 17-21 Lakshya Sen: Incredible. Five straight points to finish the game for Lakshya, Srikanth just unravelled at the end there

Correction: Men’s singles, [12] Srikanth Kidambi 17-17 Lakshya Sen: Sri will dearly love to have this point back. Could have been 18-16 to him! But we are level.

Men’s singles, [12] Srikanth Kidambi 14-16 Lakshya Sen: Srikanth needed that. A return of serve winner when LS was just starting to race ahead. And soon after makes it a 2-point game with a nice follow up to a smash.

Ashish Magotra: Not been a great contest so far. Too many errors and not enough rallies so far.

Men’s singles, [12] Srikanth Kidambi 8-11 Lakshya Sen: Lakshya was playing catch up in the early stages of this match but from 8-8, he goes ahead and takes a lead into the interval. And confirmation that there are no coaches on the court. Sri is a bit erratic at the moment.

Men’s singles, [12] Srikanth Kidambi 7-7 Lakshya Sen: Srikanth looks like he wants to assert his net-game early but Lakshya matching him there. A lovely crosscourt winner and a fiery straight smash. All level here.

Men’s singles, [12] Srikanth Kidambi 4-4 Lakshya Sen: Lakshya has been playing with some strapping in his knee for a while now but today it is heavier than normal. And as the commentators point out, there are no coaches for this one. (Despite different coaches and all that)

Men’s singles, [12] Srikanth Kidambi vs Lakshya Sen: To the umpire’s left, India. To the umpire’s right, India. We go!

Men’s doubles: Back-to-back Worlds final for the red-hot Hoki/Kobayashi.

Men’s doubles: One-way traffic now.

Men’s doubles: With a stunning save from Kobayashi, JPN pair set up a brilliant point and take the first game.

Men’s doubles: Ong/Teo started well but the in-form Hoki/Kobayashi, coached by the familiar name for Indian fans (Tan Kim Her), are in the lead now in the business end. 13-9.

After a thrilling game of women’s doubles badminton to begin the session, it is time for men’s doubles. (Also potentially a thriller). Following that it will be the all-Indian clash in men’s singles.

Women’s doubles: Lee/Shin have avenged the defeat in the Tokyo 2020 bronze medal playoff by defeating Kim/Kong to enter the World Championships final. It will be China vs Korea in the final, and like women’s singles, it will be 1 vs 2.

Women’s doubles: Four match points for Lee/Shin.

Women’s doubles: And now a 4-point lead for Lee/Shin at 18-14. More breathtaking rallies.

Women’s doubles: Amazing, Kim/Kong have come back from 0-10 and 2-11 down to reduce it to 13-15! What a match. And a 88-shot rally to make it 14-15! The crowd watching this like a football match, Ole-ing every shot. Stunning comeback.

Women’s doubles: From 0-10 to 7-11, quite the revival by the Olympic bronze medallists Kim/Kong!

Women’s doubles: Wow, four points to close the first game and seven points to start the second game. Stunning run. Suddenly this looks like a no contest.

Women’s doubles: After not leading at any point in the game till then, Lee/Shin go three straight from 18-18 and clinch the opening game. A rally to remember on game point point!

Women’s doubles: The second session begins with the all-Korean women’s doubles match and this might well determine how late Srikanth and Lakshya get on court. Second point 77 shots, seventh point is... 142 shots!!! The famed Korean defence in women’s doubles on full display.

Lakshya Sen on his quarterfinal win:

Take us through the match: Very confident in the first game, was rallying it out. Comfortable. I was on the faster side after the first game, had a little bit difficulty in controlling shuttles from the net. I went into the drive game and it didn’t work me. Third game again I was ready to rally again. In the beginning he was leading by a few points but still I was confident that if I rally it out, I can make up a lot of points. I was better prepared for playing the drive game, pushing it hard on to the body.

Mentality during the third game: I was confident in my rally game. Both of us made some mistakes. He was also playing at a fast pace, he was forcing me to make errors. Moment I controlled that, I was winning points, and felt confident. At 20-all, I slipped but I still managed to pull off a winner... so yeah, a bit of luck

— via BWF mixed zone

Coming up around 9.30pm (or a bit later): For the first time in Indian badminton history, there will be a men’s singles finalist at the badminton World Championships. Lakshya and Srikanth will face each other for the first time in the international circuit. Srikanth will have the edge physically, given the time he spent on court for the quarterfinals was minimal. Both players have fantastic attacking weapons, while the former world No 1 is significantly more experienced at this level. So Lakshya will be hoping his better defensive skills (arguably) might prove to be the difference. Either way, India will have a finalist at the badminton World Championships for the fifth straight edition.

End of first session: Dechapol/Sapsiree will face Watanabe/Higashino in the mixed doubles final, they will be facing each other for the SIXTH time starting from Tokyo 2020! And with that, the first session is done. Second session starts at 8.30 pm IST and Srikanth-Lakshya will be the third match.

Mixed doubles underway now... here’s the schedule for the remaining matches today:

PV Sindhu (yesterday in the BWF Mixed Zone): I think it was a good game overall. Long rallies. I think it was just her day today and it wasn’t mine. I think it was a good match even though it was just two sets and at some point, it was like equal and there were long rallies but it was just her day. There was nothing more to say. Maybe there were a few mistakes but it happens. But in the second game after 12-12, I gave her 4-5 points continuously and maybe I should’ve taken a break there is what I felt. Otherwise, it was all fine… the movement and other stuff.”

PV Sindhu reacts after her loss to Tai Tzu Ying at the BWF World Badminton C’ships

Women’s doubles, Chen/Jia 21-15, 21-12 Matsutomo/Nagahara: A brilliant performance by the top seeds from China and the Japanese stronghold on the title (and finals) for the last two years is now over. Chen/Jia back in the final.

Women’s doubles, Chen/Jia 21-15, 11-6 Matsutomo/Nagahara: The defending champions are on the verge of exit, Chinese pair look much more in control.

Women’s doubles, Chen/Jia 13-10 Matsutomo/Nagahara: The Chinese are just starting to pull away from 10-10. Nagahara is only returning from an injury for this event. If it goes longer and longer, you’d think Chen/Jia will be the favourites.

Women’s doubles: Chen/Jia, the Olympic silver medallists from China, are taking on Matsutomo/Nagahara, the defending world champions. It will potentially a brutal, physical battle and we have a 79-shot rally for the third point!

We are three matches down on the court and Srikanth-Lakshya is the eighth. Time left... but as we build to it, here’s a look at their paths to the semifinal:

Mixed doubles: Quite an amazing turnaround from the brilliant Thai pair.

Mixed doubles: This one is going the distance! Sapsiree has been playing non stop in recent months, but she (and Dechapol) are not done yet.

Women’s singles: They haven’t met since 2019 but Akane is one of those players who troubles TTY more than most. This will be a fun match.

ICYMI: (Or even if you didn’t miss it)

Women’s singles [2] Akane Yamaguchi 21-19, 21-19 Zhang Yi Man: Here’s how the second game panned out.

Women’s singles: It will be No. 1 vs No. 2 to decide the women’s singles champion! Akane Yamaguchi comes through a hard-fought semifinal against unseeded Zhang Yi Man 21-19, 21-19 in 44 minutes.

Women’s singles [2] Akane Yamaguchi 21-19, 20-19 Zhang Yi Man: The shuttle is waiting at the top of the net chord to decide who to favour... and it goes Akane’s way for match point.

Women’s singles [2] Akane Yamaguchi 21-19, 18-18 Zhang Yi Man: 17-all, 18-all... this is so close at the moment.

Watch out for two points: a) At 16-13 in the first game. b) At 15-12 in the third game.

Women’s singles [2] Akane Yamaguchi 21-19, 10-11 Zhang Yi Man: The unseeded Chinese continues to make life difficult for Akane who is now trailing at the mid-game interval and looking for some answers to Zhang’s consistency

Women’s singles [2] Akane Yamaguchi 21-19 Zhang Yi Man: The world No 46 has not made it easy for her and Akane Yamaguchi has had to work very hard to eventually take the opening game 21-19.

Women’s singles [2] Akane Yamaguchi 11-7 Zhang Yi Man: The Chinese shuttler has had her moments, troubling Akane when she gets her attacking game right, but the second seed takes a 11-7 lead into the mid-game interval playing her brand of consistent badminton.

Women’s singles: Zhang Yi Man (world No 46!) vs Akane Yamaguchi [2] to take on TTY in the final.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 13-21, 21-14 He Bing Jiao [8]: For the first time in her career, Tai Tzu Ying is a World Championships finalist. The title of world champion is one win away. Absolutely sensational stuff (even if in patches) from TTY again today. Smiles all around! A dejected He Bing Jiao but she played well too... a Olympics bronze was missed, but she adds a Worlds bronze.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 13-21, 19-13 He Bing Jiao [8]: A pumped up TTY now. She can see the finish line.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 13-21, 16-12 He Bing Jiao [8]: STUNNING. Three straight points for He, slightly worried looking TTY and next point, the world No 1 turns defence into a stunning crosscourt winner this time from the deep forehand corner.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 13-21, 13-8 He Bing Jiao [8]: The run of points ends at 8 for TTY and He needs some points here and soon.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 13-21, 11-6 He Bing Jiao [8]: From around the moment I mentioned He is the favourite perhaps, Tai Tzu Ying has won six straight points and leads 11-6 in the decider. Turning on the magic button once again in that little phase.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 13-21, 6-6 He Bing Jiao [8]: He Bing Jiao has neutralised Tai Tzu Ying’s drop shots for the most part with her flat game and her drops are working well too. The result is a very worried TTY in the decider. The Chinese looks like the favourite at this point. 5-5, 6-6 in the third.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 13-21, 2-4 He Bing Jiao [8]: TTY needed a good start before the change of ends... she is not getting it. A super 26 shot rally that He controlled and closes out.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 13-21 He Bing Jiao [8]: He Bing Jiao keeps her level steady while Tai Tzu Ying made a few too many errors in the middle phase of that game. The world No 1 finishes with a good set of points but too late for this game. And the result is a decider in this semifinal!

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 7-15 He Bing Jiao [8]: He Bing Jiao is finding the lines with precision, pushing pace at the net... this is the end He chose to finish from, the commentators remind us. This is not over yet.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17, 5-11 He Bing Jiao [8]: The Chinese shuttler didn’t really play that badly in the first game... and now she has a strong lead in the second.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 21-17 He Bing Jiao [8]: Tai Tzu Ying started the opening game with her racket, finished it with her magic wand. It was a streaky start to the opening game but after the mid-game interval, TTY starts producing moments of sheer magic and takes the first game. One game away from her Worlds first final.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 10-11 He Bing Jiao [8]: TTY raced off the blocks 5-0, He Bing Jiao responded with 8 straight points... and it is the Chinese leading 11-10 at the break. Proper chess match this. TTY’s high-risk, high-reward is more risk than reward right now

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 6-9 He Bing Jiao [8]: The run of points finally end at 8 for He but TTY gives the serve right back. She is struggling for her length from the far side.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 5-5 He Bing Jiao [8]: Five points each to start off... brilliant chess match already.

Women’s singles, [1] Tai Tzu Ying 5-0 He Bing Jiao [8]: First up, a cracking women’s singles contest on the cards. Can Tai Tzu Ying enter the final at Worlds for the first time? She assured a first ever medal at the tournament yesterday defeating P Sindhu. TTY has raced ahead to a good start!

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the BWF World Championships. It is semi-finals day!

Srikanth Kidambi and Lakshya Sen are the last two Indians standing at the tournament and their semi-final is the eighth match of the day (session starts nowb at 2.30 pm IST, so give or take around seven hours from then). Friday was another interesting day of badminton even if it started on a disappointing note for Indian fans with PV Sindhu bowing out and ended with HS Prannoy going down fighting against the red-hot Loh Kean Yew.

While we build up to the all-Indian final later on, there are plenty of exciting matches coming up. Starting with Tai Tzu Ying vs He Bingjiao.

(Screenshots in the blog courtesy Tournament Software and Disney+Hotstar)